Croydon drops its appeal against tribunal’s race discrimination finding

A voluntary group specialising in race
discrimination cases this week called for the Commission for Racial
Equality to launch an investigation into Croydon Council’s
treatment of its black staff.

The move follows a last-minute decision by the
council to withdraw its appeal against an employment tribunal’s
race discrimination findings last year (News, page 3, 18 January

The tribunal ruled that Croydon had racially
discriminated against Christine Cameron, an initial contact officer
in the social services department, on two counts: failing to
support her after an incident of serious racial abuse, and
suspending her with a view to disciplinary proceedings.

The council has been ordered to pay Cameron
£11,000 in compensation, plus £894 in interest and a
contribution towards her legal costs.

Croydon’s chief executive David Wechsler
defended the council’s decision to withdraw, saying it would avoid
rising legal costs.

The council has failed to acknowledge the
tribunal’s findings and in a statement issued this week claimed
that it had reached an out-of-court settlement, when in fact it
withdrew its appeal without giving any reason.

Cameron’s legal representative, voluntary
group the Northern Complainant Aid Fund, said it would now lodge
its request for a formal investigation with the CRE.

Meanwhile, Cameron said she was relieved but
unhappy at the way the council had handled the matter. “I have had
to live with the pain and the uncertainty for 14 months.”

NCAF spokesman Courtney Hay said Croydon had
prolonged Cameron’s suffering by “dragging this matter out for over
a year”.

“Their appeal was unnecessary and unjustified
and it raises questions about their whole approach to cases of race
discrimination,” added Hay.

“Given their approach to Ms Cameron’s case, it
is not surprising that the council is currently facing no fewer
than six race discrimination tribunal hearings in the next two

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